In the name of decency: the contortions of the pro-war left

From International Socialist

The pro-war left often claims that the anti-war movement is not really anti-war, but for the other side. This is because many in the anti-war movement vocally support the right of people in occupied countries to defend themselves. Most of us are not pacifists. The historically determined capacity for organised killing cannot be undone overnight. The best that can be said is that we may eventually abolish those social structures that generate and direct the use of such violence, and in the meantime restrain the agents of it as far as is we realistically can. A little realism suggests that such restraints will themselves often take the form of violence, and this is fundamentally what characterises the Iraqi resistance, the resistance of Aristide’s followers to the multilateral destruction of Haitian democracy, and the Lebanese resistance to the recent failed Israeli invasion.

Are we not supposed to notice that when, for instance, Saddam Hussein was raping, killing, imprisoning and torturing Iraqis, resistance was deemed entirely legitimate, and yet when the present dictators of Iraq do the same, resistance is derided by the pro-war left? Is it supposed to escape our attention that the pro-war left in fact favour pacifism for the weak and militarism for the strong?

Worse than that, they generally assume violence is only permissible when perpetrated by a colonial power. Slaughtering insurgents is ok. Being an insurgent is not. Some of these same people also look to America as a wonderful example of what to be, forgetting that it too was founded by violent revolution.

The pro-war left also includes those who, before the war, said let the sanctions work, assuming I guess, that allowing babies to die from malnutrition and lack of medical supplies was somehow an ethical response. Ditto for those who wanted a UN force to replace the US in Iraq, hoping this would give it an sheen of respectability. At heart, the pro-war left sees nothing wrong with the US invading other countries, they just want the slaughter to be better hidden and not as obvious.

Then there’s the Anti-war Lite folks who cosy up to the Democratic Party in hopes of influencing it or, more probably, becoming apparatchiks within it. This would be the same Democratic Party that overwhelmingly supported the Bush War. Hell yes it’s a class thing. The ruling class wanted a war and they got it. Now they can’t get out.

Only the insane want war and violence. Peaceful resolution of conflict is always best. Most causalities of war are civilian who got caught in the cross-fire. They are the ones who suffer the most. But a people, any people, should always have the right to fight back against what they see as oppression. After all, that’s how the US was founded.

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